NBA Jam: On Fire Edition Review (XBLA)
Did EA Sports finally get the correct formula? Let me preface this by saying that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the Sega Genesis version of the original Midway title lately. I’ve become a pro at it so I was expecting something good from the On Fire edition.
Right off the bat you can tell it’s not like the Midway arcade game. EA sports has done a solid job with the remake but it doesn’t really have that arcade feel. To me it has more of an NBA Street feel with a few mechanics of the original and the NBA Jam label slapped on.
To me it was difficult to adjust to at first. The controls felt clunky, passing was bizarre and the overall animations seemed off. That was at first because once you get the feel for the controls and used to playing the game, it’s really fun & addicting. The exaggerated shots and dunks look a little strange to me as they drop quicker and they don’t seem to be as fluid as the arcade game. Overall it looks good and the complaints are minor because the sharpened up the gameplay is where the title really shines.
The graphics are solid and well polished and have a bunch of little features that take this game to the next level. Little touches like the mascots on the sideline, addition of air balls, the original Midway announcer, crossover ability and a whole cast of features. We’ve also got the 3-D graphics for the players bodies and static photos of the players faces. The players faces change depending on the position of the player and it’s overall a neat touch to a game that’s supposed to be over exaggerated.
At first I was really miffed by the controls as was stated. I was kind of upset that you couldn’t change them to be exactly like the old arcade version. Instead you’re stuck with the turbo buttons as the triggers and a little bit of a change up in the way you jump & shoot. It’s easy get familiar with the controls and once once I got used to them, it was buttery smooth baby. Actually I really like the controls of this game. I mean it’s not the same but it’s not a downgrade either. I still drop bombs all day and I can definitely tell that the shooting mechanics are almost the same as the original version. I think that’s great, you know, as you don’t want to alienate the fan base. You want be consistent between the original title and the upgraded remake.
The game is packed with a ton of content. So as far as replay value goes, you can definitely get your moneys worth from this arcade game. You can unlock so much and change the game experience thoroughly. By gaining points it gives you access to the store to unlock players privileges icons and a whole cast of other perks. It’s a really neat feature especially with the advent of paid DLC. It’s a rarity to see in game features that unlock more abilities as you play the game.
In my mind overall I think EA sports has done an incredible job with this title. I also had the misfortune of viewing gameplay of the beta NBA JAM and I thought that it looked terrible. This release has shifted the tide. It seems like the sports niche doesn’t have too many incredible titles save for NBA 2K10 or a good Madden game every other year or so. So it’s always nice to get a good sports game because I do remember going through some really great sports games in my childhood.